Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy birthday, Fanny Brice...and a host of others!

One hundred and nineteen years ago on this date, Fania Borach was born in the teensy backwoods hamlet of New York City…though the world would eventually call this incredibly talented woman—singer, actress, comedienne—Fanny Brice.  From her show stopping turns in various productions of the Ziegfeld Follies to her lengthy radio stint as one of the airwaves’ most beloved brats, Baby Snooks, Brice’s career and life story was indeed a fascinating one…one that needed two movies to tell, Funny Girl in 1968 and Funny Lady in 1975.  Both films starred Barbra Streisand, who took home a Best Actress Oscar for the first one the year after Girl was released.

I told myself that I was going to beg off doing lengthy birthday listings because of some changes at IMDb that made things sort of inconvenient but thanks to Laura at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings (who gleaned the info from Raquelle at Out of the Past and Kate Gabrielle at Silents and Talkies) I learned how to tweak things that will make doing these things much easier…so I’ll continue on with these for a while unless outside activities interfere or I become totally bored with them.  So who else shares a birthday today with the incomparable Ms. Brice, you may be asking?  Gaze into my crystal ball…

James Boswell (1740-1795) – Biographer of Dr. Samuel Johnson

Jack Pearl (1894-1982) – Comedian who appeared on stage, radio, film and television as Baron Munchausen (“Vas you dere, Sharlie?”)

Josef Goebbels (1897-1945) – Evil Nazi Minister of Propaganda (aka “The Malicious Dwarf”)

Hope Emerson (1897-1960) – Stage, screen and television actress seen in such vehicles as Adam’s Rib and Caged…and on Peter Gunn as “Mother”

Akim Tamiroff (1899-1972) – Stage, screen and television actor…and inspiration for Rocky & Bullwinkle villain Boris Badenov

Boris Ingster (1903-1978) – Director-writer-producer whose 1940 film, Stranger on the Third Floor, is often cited as one of the earliest examples of the film noir style

Perc (1904-1970) and Ern Westmore (1904-1970) – Twin makeup artists and members of the Westmore dynasty

Fredric Brown (1906-1972) – Science fiction/mystery author

Lew Parker (1910-1972) – Stage, screen and television actor best known as Marlo Thomas’ pop on That Girl

Eddie Constantine (1917-1993) – Cult film actor who made a number of films as private dick Lemmy Caution, notably Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville

“Baby” Peggy-Jean Montgomery (1918-     ) – Popular moppet star of silent and sound films who turns ninety-two today

William Henry “Bill” Mauldin (1921-2003) – Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist who achieved fame with his panels featuring dogfaces Willie and Joe…but also dabbled in acting, notably in 1951’s The Red Badge of Courage

Ed Kemmer (1921-2004) – Film, radio and television actor best remembered by legions of youngsters as Commander Buzz Corey on the TV and radio versions of Space Patrol

Neal Hefti (1922-2008) – Composer, conductor and trumpeter who led the band on radio’s The Kate Smith Show and was immortalized as the man who composed the theme to TV’s Batman

Dina Merrill (1923-     ) – Stage, screen and television actress whose vehicles include Desk Set and Operation Petticoat…also married at one time to Cliff Robertson

Dominick Dunne (1925-2009) – American author, producer and TV personality

Geraldine Brooks (1925-1977) – Stage, screen and television actress whose vehicles include Possessed and The Reckless Moment

Velma Barfield (1932-1984) – Convicted North Carolina serial killer who was the first woman to be executed using lethal injection

Denny Laine (1944-     ) – Singer, songwriter and guitarist who played with both the Moody Blues and Wings

Melba Moore (1945-    ) – Singer-actress best remembered for her work in the musical Hair

Richard Dreyfuss (1947-     ) – Stage, film and television actor whose winning of an Oscar for 1977’s The Goodbye Girl made him un dickhead formidable

Kate Jackson (1948-     ) – Film and television actress who appeared on four hit TV series: Dark Shadows, The Rookies, Charlie’s Angels and Scarecrow and Mrs. King

Dan Castellaneta (1957-     ) – Character actor who’s been immortalized as the voice of Homer “D’oh!” Simpson

Dawn DeNoon (1964-     ) – Producer, writer and story editor on my mom’s favorite TV show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit…who gets a shout-out here because she’s a fellow West Virginian (Moundsville)

Joely Fisher (1967-     ) – Stage, film and television actress best known for her roles on Ellen and ‘Til Death; daughter of Eddie Fisher and sister to Carrie

Winona Ryder (1971-     ) – Stage, film and television actress and kleptomaniac

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1 comment:

Scott said...

MST3K fans will remember Ed Kemmer as the heroic high school science teacher in Bert I. Gordon's Earth vs. The Spider.